Protective netting necessary

Mariucci Arena needs protective netting before someone is killed.

Imagine a scenario: Friday night, Mariucci Arena. You are sucking down a beverage and chewing on a hot dog, extra ketchup. You bend over to place your cup on the floor and as you rise you notice a puck is flying directly at your face. The boys shoot that puck around with some speed, so by the time you realize it’s coming at you, it’s at you, right smack-dab on your forehead. There is a 40 percent chance that you will need an ambulance to take you to the emergency room. You could have injured your brain, you could have a disability for the rest of your life; you could die.

Mariucci Arena boasts not having a single view-obstructed seat out of its 9,700. It is also the only arena in the Big Ten without protective netting behind the goals.

At Mariucci there are six sections behind the nets that are especially vulnerable to high-flying pucks. Hockey fans are putting themselves at great risk when sitting in these sections, whether they know it or not.

Although many fans are aware of the risk they are facing when sitting behind the goal, many are also used to looking through, and hardly noticing, protective netting. It’s used in the Olympics, the NHL uses it and so do all other hockey teams in the Big Ten.

Getting hit by a puck is an incident most hockey fans have seen happen or has happened to them or to someone they know.

Women and children get hit twice as often as men. The shoulders, neck, and face are most often hit, and this often causes traumatic brain injury. In 2002, 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil died after getting hit at an NHL game. Though this is the only death in the NHL’s history, three have died at minor league games, where the glass is lower.

Facilities management should think seriously about putting up netting above the glass to prevent injuries to fans. For between $1 and $4 per square foot, the University could save itself a lot of trouble.